Tag Archives: Kalle Härkki

Outotec celebrates 70 years of technology innovation at Pori ORC

Outotec is, this week, celebrating 70 years of sustainable technology development at its Outotec Research Centre (ORC) in Pori, Finland.

The ORC in Pori is unique in the industry, according to the company, with its expertise in the minerals and metals processing value chain ranging from ores to finished metals and recycling.

The centre was established in 1949 and, since then, has been a part of the company’s long-term research and development strategy. The company is holding a two-day seminar to celebrate 70 years of process development on October 15–16, with speakers including leading researchers, professors and industrial influencers.

One of several cutting-edge technologies developed at the ORC is Outotec Flash Smelting, which is still one of the world’s most commonly used processes to produce primary copper and nickel. This innovation was developed at the ORC at the end of 1940s.

The centre’s laboratories conduct tests on raw materials for Outotec’s customers and the related production processes. Current testing capabilities include nine laboratories and pilot plants, with, annually, some 200 research projects conducted, and more than 250,000 samples analysed.

Outotec said: “There is a genuine need for continuous development of processes since ore deposits are becoming leaner in grade and more difficult to utilise. The conventional methods are often insufficient to make them financially viable. Outotec’s research centre in Pori supports customers in selecting and, if necessary, developing new solutions for the efficient and environmentally sustainable extraction of valuable minerals from raw materials.”

The company said it can take decades for a completely new technology to establish itself in the market, but once the technology platform is developed, new applications may quickly be found. This has happened to cobalt and lithium processing technologies in recent years with the electrification of transport, it said.

Jarkko Partinen, Vice President, Technology and R&D at the ORC, said the cobalt extraction technology developed in Pori back in the 1960s is, today, gaining in importance due to the advent of electric transport.

“Thanks to our continuous research and development work, we are able to offer customers new and efficient ways of processing materials such as battery chemicals,” he added.

Kalle Härkki, Head of Outotec’s Metals, Energy & Water business area, said Outotec’s customers each face unique challenges and it is the company’s job to create solutions that help them succeed.

“We are proud of our process and technology expertise, and having our own research centre is a competitive strength,” he said. “ORC has been characterised by research into environmental protection, the circular economy, and resource efficiency before any of these topics became mainstream. One of the earliest studies, which dates back to 1951 and would nowadays be linked to the circular economy, examined useful applications for sulphur gas roasting residues.”

ORC employs 180 research and development professionals, 45 of which are process and technology development engineers, half of whom hold a doctorate level degree. There is a dedicated group working in modelling and digitalising process expertise.

The laboratories employ more than 100 professionals most of them working in three shifts specialised in building and maintaining test rigs and equipment, conducting the test work planned by the process development engineers, and analysing samples taken from the tests.

In 2018, the ORC welcomed more than 1,300 visitors, the vast majority of which were customers, researchers and people attending training.

Outotec improving energy consumption, efficiency at Glencore Nikkelverk refinery

Outotec has agreed with Glencore Nikkelverk AS on the delivery of coated titanium anodes to the new tankhouse for its copper electrowinning plant in Norway.

The delivery will include over 5,000 of the new mixed metal oxide coated titanium anodes, with the order value, booked into Outotec’s September quarter order intake, being some €10 million ($11 million).

Glencore’s Nikkleverk refinery in Kristiansand, Norway, produces around 40,000 t/y of copper.

Outotec’s coated titanium anodes were tested on-site for five years, with the results verifying that Outotec anodes will significantly reduce energy consumption and provide higher current efficiency than traditional lead anodes, the company said.

Outotec said: “Outotec Coated Titanium Anodes provide totally lead-free electrowinning operations and increased occupational health and safety by eliminating lead and lead sludge handling.”

The end result for Glencore Nikkelverk AS is green technology electrowinning operations with higher quality copper product at lower energy consumption and operating costs, it concluded.

Kalle Härkki, Head of Outotec’s Metals, Energy & Water business area, said: “This is one more reference delivery of Outotec Coated Titanium Anodes in the copper electrowinning industry. The energy efficiency benefits and lower operating costs of our anodes enable Glencore Nikkelverk to improve their profitability in a sustainable way.”

Outotec to help expand JSC Stoilensky GOK iron ore pelletising plant

Outotec says it and Russia iron ore pellet producer JSC Stoilensky GOK (S-GOK), which is a part of NLMK Group, have entered into a contract to expand S-GOK’s pellet plant located in Stary Oskol, Russia.

The approximately €15 million ($16.9 million) order has been booked in Outotec’s 2019 March quarter order intake, it said.

Outotec previously delivered the technology for S-GOK’s pellet plant, which has been in operation since 2017, but this latest contract will see the plant’s annual capacity go from 6 Mt to 8 Mt.

Outotec will be responsible for the engineering, supply of key equipment and automation system as well as advisory services for installation and commissioning of the expansion.

The company said its latest technology improvements in green pelletising, cooling air process, and pallet car changing system will be applied, together with a digital solution package. The deliveries will take place at the end of 2020.

Additionally, in 2019-2021, NLMK said it plans to boost ore production and beneficiation capacity by 14% via upgrades of Stoilensky’s other transformation stages with a view to ensuring stable supply of raw materials to the pelletiser after it reaches the output of 8 Mt/y. This will enable the company to increase its ore processing capacity from 37 Mt/y to 42 Mt/y and to increase its concentrate output from 17.3 Mt/y to 20 Mt/y.

Kalle Härkki, Head of Outotec’s Metals, Energy & Water business, said: “We are excited about continued cooperation with S-GOK and the delivery of our latest technology improvements and digital solutions to this project. With intelligent services, applications and equipment we ensure safety, predictability and optimal performance of the plant, and S-GOK will get the best value from their assets.”

Konstantin Lagutin, NLMK Group Vice President, Investment Projects, said Outotec was its long-standing and reliable partner, “with whom we successfully implemented Europe’s largest pelletising plant in Stary Oskol”.

“The new expansion project is an important element of our Strategy 2022, aimed at meeting our growing raw material needs as well as increasing efficient steel production,” he said.

Fertiliser leader OCP signs up Outotec for sulphuric acid plant EPC

Outotec has signed a contract with Morocco-based OCP Group for the delivery of a sulphuric acid plant for fertiliser production.

The approximately €80 million ($90.2 million) order has been booked into Outotec’s 2019 March quarter order intake, the company said.

Outotec’s delivery includes the engineering, procurement and construction of the plant, which is based on Outotec’s sulphur burning system. The new acid plant will incorporate advanced proprietary technologies such as HEROS heat recovery system as well as a converter, absorption towers and an acid distribution system that are made of the Edmeston SX stainless steel alloy.

Outotec said: “With more than 20 acid plants and several mining sites, OCP Group is a global fertiliser producer and leader in the phosphate industry. The acid plant will be built in connection with their existing chemical complexes and support in OCP’s fertiliser production from phosphate rock from their mining processes as a raw material.”

Kalle Härkki, Head of Outotec’s Metals, Energy & Water business, said: “Outotec’s sulphuric acid technology has proven to be one of the leading technologies for decades. We are honoured that OCP has selected our design for their new plant.

“With our leading technologies providing benefits such as safety, high reliability and enhanced heat recovery we are happy to help OCP reach their sustainability targets.”